This private tour through the famous "Grand Circle" of spectacular scenery of the Colorado Plateau in Utah and the surrounding states starts in Salt Lake City, UT. With our luxury tour company, you will be able to see and do more when compared to that of a standard bus or a group tour, in less amount of time, in comfort and only with those you have invited to join you on the journey.
Although the schedule below indicates 3 days, please remember, this can be a customized trip just for your requested attractions. We can delete or add to the schedule as necessary to meet your timeline.
The Mighty Five is the Utah portion of the "Grand Circle" that is widely regarded in the travel Industry as one of the most beautiful routes for exploring the vast variety of National and State Parks in the American Southwest. Utah just happens to be blessed with 5 National Parks, 42 State Parks and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Starting your tour in Salt Lake City is a great option; you can request any other departure location to customize this journey to your own schedule and convenience, i.e. Park City.
Your guide will be with you each step of the way and of course act as your porter, concierge and park guide. The Mighty Five tour is one that the whole family will enjoy and is the perfect balance between times in the vehicle and being outside in the beautifully wild and rugged Utah.
Tour route with start and finish in Salt Lake City:
A Quick Overview:
Expect to be met by a Utah Luxury Tour guide with a smile and an enticing passion for this unique scenery we like to call our backyard. Your guide will meet you at a hotel of your choice in Salt Lake City, UT. We will drive south along the Wasatch Range and over the mountain passes of US-6 before entering Southeastern Utah.
Private Guided Tour of Dead Horse Point & Canyonlands National Park
“At first look it all seems like a geologic chaos, but there is method at work here… each groove in the rock leads to a natural channel of some kind, every channel to a ditch and gulch and ravine, each larger waterway to a canyon bottom or broad wash leading in turn to the Colorado River and the sea.” Edward Abbey
Your guide will take you to see the breathtaking view of a hidden gem called Dead Horse Point State Park, with its 2,000 ft. cliffs and Grand Canyon-like scene. At this state park, your ULT guide will teach you all about its history and the origin of the park's name, as well as how the wildlife and vegetation survive in this harsh yet mesmerizing environment.
From Dead Horse Point, it will take us about 20 minutes to get to the entrance of Canyonlands' Island In The Sky District. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves.
Canyonlands remains largely untrammeled – roads are mostly unpaved, trails primitive, and the Colorado and Green Rivers are free-flowing. Bighorn sheep, coyotes, and other native animals roam its 527 square miles. Your ULT guide will walk with you to the famous Mesa Arch or Grand View Point Overlook, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch.
On the way out of the park, you will have an opportunity to view The Shafer Trail. Time and weather permitting, your guide may drive you through a short section of the trail to give you an appreciation for the scale of the canyon walls, on a road which no bus or large tour would venture onto.
The Shafer Trail offers an excellent opportunity to observe the succession of rocks exposed in the Canyonlands region of Utah. Originally used as a cattle trail, uranium miners later expanded the Shafer Trail to transport ore extracted from the Chinle Formation.
Private Guided Tour of Arches National Park
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.” ― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
The famous Arches National Park is home to the iconic Delicate Arch as well as over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, hundreds of soaring pinnacles, and giant balanced rocks. Water and ice, extreme temperatures, underground salt movements, and one hundred million years of erosion are the reasons why Arches National Park is the way it is. Your ULT guide will share his/her knowledge with you about the rock formations that are unique to this specific park and which hikes would be the most appropriate for your interests and mobility level.
Hiking and Viewing Options
Delicate Arch: You may have seen the Delicate Arch before, perhaps in movies, on Utah license plates, or on our company logo. It is an isolated remnant of a bygone fin, standing on the brink of a canyon, with the La Sal Mountains as a backdrop. Along the hike, your guide will show you a petroglyph panel that has been left behind by the Ute people that used to live off of this very land centuries ago. (3 miles round-trip, elevation gain of 500ft)
Double Arch & The Windows: Another walk that our guide will suggest is to the Double Arch. Double Arch has made a few appearances in Hollywood including the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, starring Harrison Ford. It is an easy, flat 10-minute walk on a wide, well-maintained trail to Double Arch. (0.5 miles, no elevation gain for Double Arch; 1 mile round-trip, some elevation gain for North & South Windows)
Landscape Arch: A 20-minute walk will take you to Landscape Arch in the area known as Devil's Garden. This is the longest arch measuring 306 feet across. (1.6 miles round-trip, moderately easy with some elevation gain)
Park Avenue: A short walk next to towering walls on the canyon bottom past the Three Gossips. Great as a one-way stroll with your guide picking you up at the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint (1 mile one-way, downhill walk)
Balanced Rock & Lower Viewpoint of Delicate Arch: Both of these areas are wheelchair accessible destinations or for those worried about limited mobility.
After leaving Arches NP, your ULT guide will escort you to the Sorrel River Ranch near Moab, UT, where you can relax for the rest of day 1. Along the drive, you will enjoy the views of the southwestern desert landscape. Surrounded by the Colorado River, lush landscape and red rock formations, Sorrel's luxurious amenities and charming suites immerse you in a larger than life desert atmosphere.
For the rest of the day you are welcome to simply enjoy a glass of wine as you take in views of the Colorado River from just outside your room at Sorrel River Ranch. We will be happy to make your dinner reservations at Sorrel River's restaurant or at one of the fine dining options in downtown Moab for the evening.
** Optional Evening Activity if time allows ** A great way to spend your evening in this unique area is to experience a Hummer sunset tour on Moab's world famous Slickrock. The Slickrock trail is home of many petrified sand dunes and ancient, eroded sea beds.
Day 2: Private Guided Tour of Goblin Valley SP, Capitol Reef NP, All American Road Scenic Highway 12 and Sunset Viewing at Bryce Canyon
We will leave the Moab area and head north to Goblin Valley State Park after a leisurely breakfast. The drive to this park will take us on Hwy 24, through the eastern edge of the San Rafael Swell. The goblins were formed from deposits of a vast inland sea 170 million years ago and sculpted by uplift and erosion. In 1949, a cowboy named Arthur Chaffin called this area "Mushroom Valley," because of the strange structure of these rocks.
Following a short walk in Goblin Valley, you will continue the drive along Hwy 24, south towards Hanksville.
Private Guided Tour of Capitol Reef National Park
Distinctly different in appearance and geological history, Capitol Reef's Waterpocket Fold stretches across south-central Utah. It is a vast warping of rock created 65 million years ago by the same great forces that formed the Colorado Plateau. Capitol Reef National Park preserves the Fold and its eroded jumble of colorful cliffs, massive domes, soaring spires, stark monoliths, twisting canyons, and graceful arches.
What makes the Waterpocket Fold country fascinating is it has provided a home to many plants, animals, and humans. For thousands of years, the early Indigenous People lived here freely among juniper, columbine, cacti, lizards, jackrabbits, and deer. Along the Fremont River your guide will point out ancient petroglyphs and pictographs left by some of the early inhabitants hundreds of years ago. In the 19th century this area became home to the Mormon Pioneers.
Weather permitting, your ULT guide will take you on a 16- mile scenic drive passing the historic Fruita District, through the narrow roads of the Waterpocket Fold.
On our way to Bryce Canyon, tonight's destination, we will stop for a delicious lunch in the town of Torrey. As we head south on National Scenic Byway 12, we will pass Dixie National Forest, Boulder Mountain, and the Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument. As we drive along the east side of Boulder Mountain, the highway climbs to more than 9,000 feet of elevation and affords breathtaking views of the landscape below. It will be during this section of your tour that your ULT guide will tell you all about the history of Utah and how the Mormon Pioneers cultivated this lovely countryside into one of the finest destinations in the world. For those interested in this topic, your guide will highly recommend a stop at the Hole-in-the-Rock Heritage Center.
As we arrive to Bryce Canyon in the late afternoon, you will have the opportunity to rest or catch a quick glimpse of the park's amphitheaters before sunset.
Private Guided Tour of Bryce Canyon National Park – The Hoodoo Country
“It is a hell of a place, to lose a cow.”Ebenezer Bryce, 1875
Bryce Canyon, famous for its worldly unique geology, consists of a series of horseshoeshaped amphitheaters. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins and spires called "hoodoos".
Along the plateau rim geology catches your eye. Nearby forests and meadows stand in contrast to the intricately eroded rocks. As we are touring the park's 18-mile-long road, your ULT guide will explain the ancient sedimentation, uplift, and erosion process of Bryce Canyon. The park is situated on the Paunsaugunt Plateau at an elevation of 8,000 feet.
When available, we recommend you stay in Bryce Canyon Lodge, which was built from local timber and stone in the 1920's. Being the only lodging within the national park, it truly offers a one-of-a- kind experience. The lodge was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood who gave it a similar rustic style to some of his other lodges such as Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, and Ahwanee Hotel at Yosemite.
This classic historic lodge offers a full-service restaurant, and a gift shop showcasing Native American jewelry and art. The primary reasons we recommend this property are the stargazing opportunities as well as the short walking distance to Bryce Amphitheater. The lack of light pollution, high elevation and the dry desert air combine to create the darkest skies in the Southwest.
We highly recommend you wake up to see the sunrise on the amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon. Legend has it that the Paiute Tribe (the people that lived in Bryce Canyon when the white settlers came to Southern Utah) shared mythological stories of the Sinawava God's or "tricksters," who would turn the "Legend People" into stone. These stone formations that you will see are known as, Hoodoos. Aside from the obvious geological past that Bryce Canyon has, it also offers timeless tales and myths. Archeologists found ancestral Puebloan and Fremont cultural artifacts in Bryce though both groups have a history of residing in the Canyonlands and Capitol Reef National Park areas.
Sunrise Points, Sunset Points, Inspiration Points, and Bryce Points encircle Bryce Amphitheater, the biggest natural amphitheater in the park. Your ULT guide can recommend several hiking options in different parts of the park.
Queens Garden: This hike begins at Sunrise Point and descends 320 feet below the rim. It is the least difficult trail to reach the amphitheater floor and the Queen Victoria area. (1.8 miles out and back)
Navajo Trail: This moderate trail begins at Sunset Point, is 1.3 miles round-trip and descends 550 feet to the floor of the amphitheater, passing iconic Thor's Hammer and Two Bridges.
Queens Garden to Navajo Loop: We recommend combining the two above-mentioned trails into a single hike. We believe this will be the most beautiful 3 miles you will ever hike!
Bristlecone Loop Trail: At the southern end of the park at an elevation of 9,100 feet, this easy trail meanders through the forest of Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir and White Fir, passing bristlecone pines that are up to 1,800 years old. (1mile round-trip, 200 feet elevation change)
Mossy Cave: The Mossy Cave is a grotto created by an underground spring. This uncrowded trail is 0.9 miles round-trip, and ascends 300 feet to the Cave.
Rim Trail – Sunset Point to Sunrise Point: Follow the Rim Trail for an easy, wheelchair friendly walk of 1mile on a flat well-maintained path.
After breakfast we have a short 1.5-hour drive to our next destination – Zion National Park.
Private Guided Tour of Zion National Park – the Sanctuary
“All this is the music of waters.” – John Wesley Powell, 1895
From the very beginning of its origin, people sought this place, this sanctuary, this worldly heaven found in the desert's dry reaches. The very name Zion, meaning "promised land," evokes its significance. After arriving to the town of Springdale, you will embark on a truly great adventure. You will have the opportunity to follow the paths where ancient people and pioneers walked, gazing up at massive sandstone cliffs.
In the year 2000, a free public shuttle system was introduced to help reduce car congestion. This is the only way (during high season) to enter inside the park. As you begin working your way through Zion Canyon, your ULT guide will assess the hike(s) best suited to the conditions and your preferences.
Zion Hiking Options
Riverside Walk: This trail is wheelchair-accessible and follows the Virgin River (2.2 miles round-trip, 60ft elevation change).
Lower Emerald Pool Trail: A paved trail leading to the Lower Emerald Pool and waterfalls. (1.2 miles round-trip, 70ft elevation change)
Weeping Rock: A short, but steep paved trail ending at a rock alcove with seeping springs and hanging gardens. (0.4 miles round-trip, 100ft elevation change) Kayenta Trail to Lower Emerald Pools: Unpaved climb to the Emerald Pools (1.6 miles roundtrip, 150ft elevation change)
Canyon Overlook Trail: Our guides' favorite! This rocky and uneven trail ends with dramatic views of Pine Creek Canyon and lower Zion Canyon below. (1 mile roundtrip, 160ft elevation change)
Angel's Landing Trail: We will climb up 21 switchbacks called Walter's Wiggles on our way to Scout Lookout, then continue up through the last section, which follows a narrow ridge with 1500 foot drop-offs and safety chains to assist your climb. Your efforts will be rewarded with panoramic views of Zion Canyon and the Great White Throne. (5.4 miles round-trip, 1500ft elevation change)
The Narrows: Zion's signature hike is hiking in the Virgin River itself inside the beautiful canyon walls. This hike is recommended for those with hiking experience and good balance, as you will hike through the running water along a slippery rock bottom. We will provide you with a walking stick and water-friendly shoes to negotiate the challenging surface. Your ULT guide will discuss further details with you regarding weather conditions and preparations for this hike. (2-4 miles round-trip, in running water)
During the day we will stop for a delicious lunch at the Zion Lodge designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Underwood was a very successful American architect in the early 20th century. He is responsible for the design of more than 15 lodges, union stations, hotels, post offices, and department stores that are scattered all across the USA. After lunch, we will suggest a brief stop at the Zion Human History Museum, where you will become much more acquainted with the story behind charming Zion, before heading back to Salt Lake City.
Dear Utah Luxury Tours,
It's been a few weeks and we're getting back to our normal routine. Just want to thank you again for the amazing trip (covering 5 states and 5 National Parks) you custom tailored for us. The parks were great, the scenery spectacular, and the amount of territory we covered was unreal. But the true essence of the trip was our guide's enthusiastic involvement, pleasantness, patience, and flexibility, from his accommodation of our dietary requirements to his detailed knowledge of all the areas we travelled. This made the journey not only extremely enjoyable, but informative and educational as well. Please feel free to use us as a reference for your unique touring company.
Best regards from Howard, Mimi, Maurice and Susan.
Sheila and Simeon
By now we hope that you are excited to experience the spectacular scenery of bottomless canyons, wild rivers, buttes, mesas, hoodoos and arches! The combination of rustic and rugged Wild West along with the luxury of your private tour guide, fine dining and excellent accommodations will create exceptional memories and stories to treasure. You will hear ancient myths and tales unique to the Indigenous people of the Southwest. This tour will allow you to reconnect with family and friends as you explore the best destinations that Utah has to offer.
This popular tour takes 3 days.
Our destination specialists will help you choose your preferred type of accomodations in the area of our destinations – For this tour, we recommend a combination of 3 to 4 star lodging properties which include:
Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions about the region, or details of our tours. We look forward to assisting you in any way we can with your trip planning.
Reserve your luxury adventure today! Call (855) 456-UTAH(8824)